A ‘non-sewered revolution’ can secure our sanitation and water future

Water stress and constraint is a growing challenge and concern for many countries in the world.  We have already witnessed and realised the effects of climate variability, extreme events and rapid population growth which has made many cities vulnerable – Cape Town, California, Chennai, Bangalore to name a few experiences that have lived through the mercies of nature.  It has also shown that our engineering and solutions are not adequate and we require radical and disruptive solutions to “future proof our water security”.


NSS offers this opportunity, to disrupt the FLUSH practice through which the potential release and contribution of nearly 30 to 60% water can be made to the resource, and thereby improve both water and sanitation security.  The additional benefits relate to closing a pollution pathway which so seriously affects the environment and public health, extension of capacity of existing infrastructure and possibly a reduction in need for new and larger infrastructure.


Non-sewered sanitation also offers the elements for a circular economy which sees human waste as resource, which allows a whole ecosystem of beneficiation to be derived from processing, by-products and servicing models which support self-sustaining businesses.  It will have a catalytic effect of stimulating and developing a series and variety of logistics and supply chain models which brings greater convenience to the user/customer.  This resource approach opens up these new opportunities for a sanitation economy.


IWA has committed to globally lead this Non-Sewered revolution.  As the build-up and contribution to the World Toilet Day on the 19 November, it is our commitment and support to ensure that the science, innovation and practice in this area exponentially grows.  While doing so, leapfrogging these emergingsolutions in growing urban cities and rural areas of the developing world towards meeting the SDG goals.


The IWA has established the NSS Specialist Group and its 1st NSS Conference is planned to be held from 21 to 24 July 2020, in Pretoria South Africa.  This is our agitation for this revolution to take us to a secure water and sanitation future.


Jay Bhagwan and Mei Yee Chan

Chair and Vice Chair of the NSS Specialist Group

About the Non-Sewered Sanitation (NSS) IWA Specialist Group

This newly established IWA Specialist Group aims to bring together experts, scientists and practitioners with experience in FSM and non-sewered sanitation – to generate, collate and disseminate knowledge in the area worldwide. This knowledge aims to guide sanitation service provision in a sustainable way thus improving the quality of life for millions of people using on-site sanitation systems and therefore contributes towards achieving SDG target 6.2. In this effort, we will work closely with other Specialist Groups, including Resource Orientated Sanitation, Sludge Management and Sanitation and Water Management in Developing Countries, in areas where there will be interest in jointly furthering knowledge and understanding of FSM.


About IWA Specialist Groups

IWA Specialist Groups cover a wide range of subjects and are one of the main mechanisms for like- minded IWA members to network and share knowledge. They form important engines for scientific and technical content development that drives innovations in the water sector. Spread across IWA’s membership in more than 130 countries, they are an effective means of international networking, sharing information and skills, and making professional and business contacts.

Given the evolution of the sector towards higher complexity and inter-connectivity, Specialist Groups have become more inter-dependent to facilitate collaboration. Specialist Groups have their own programme of conferences and other meetings, and regular newsletters. Specialist Groups are supported by on-line tools, facilitating interaction amongst individual members and creating opportunities to generate ideas and pursue partnerships

Jayant Bhagwan and Mei Yee Chan

  Jay Bhagwan and Mei Yee Chan are Chair and Vice Chair of the IWA NSS Specialist Group    Jayant (Jay) Bhagwan, is the Executive Manager of the key strategic area of Water Use and Waste Management at the South African Water Research Comm... Read full biography